Sunday, 12 July 2015

Snaps + Rye - Danish eating in West London

I unsuspectingly stumbled across the West London Danish restaurant Snaps+Rye this weekend while trying to find a tube station. Attracted by the Danish signs, I wandered in to take a look and got talking to the very friendly manager/owner, who totally humoured me when I asked if they sell remoulade (addictive, Danish, neon yellow tartar sauce). They make their own, of course.
I had eaten *quite* recently but figured it would be rude not to have a cup of coffee. And some apple cake:

Snaps + Rye

And then I saw a chef walk through the cafe with a tray of ryebread covered in some sort of delicious salmon. Cured salmon with fennel pollen and akvavit to be precise. Some found its way to my table....

Snaps + Rye

I only tried two things, but they were delicious and well presented and I got to eat them in an atmosphere of superlative Danish-ness; the shop even has the distinctive door handles and light switches you see in Danish public buildings. It was quite dear for the amount of food, but even that is authentically Danish!

Looking at the coverage Snaps+Rye has had, it seems they are already actively promoting the Danish way to West-Londoners, even holding a Skt Hans aften party to celebrate Mid-Summer last month as well as lots of other events. I definitely want to come back to an evening event and get a feel for whether the food and venue can move from cafe to restaurant. Thanks Snaps+Rye for tempting me to add an extra meal to my day and sending me off with free liquorice for me and my ex-pat mum!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Benjamin Booker

Last night we went to the opening party of Primavera Sound 2015. It's my fifth year at PS and already we have had the best first day yet. We saw a lot but the highlight was Benjamin Booker, a 'new to me' artist who we went to see because he had a NOLA connection. We were expecting something fairly laid back and bluesey. Ha.

What we actually got was a surreal mixture of boogie woogie and punk, with Benjamin B. dancing around the stage in the style of Buddy Holly. Apparently he describes his sound as 'if Otis Redding joined a punk band'.

The show was further enlivened when BB called an audience member called Pablo on stage and instructed him to crowd surf around the venue. Then when some security guards (who probably didn't understand much of what was being said) tried to drag Pablo off, BB dived off stage to rescue him. It was quite something. Once he and Pablo were safe again on stage he gave the audience permission to basically do what they wanted to security.

I got most of this exchange on video at the link below, though I can't embed it at the moment.

I'd say BB went a bit far in his comments about security and there may well be repercussions for his set at the festival itself but it was as visceral and spontaneous thing as I've ever seen a star on a stage do.

There is a great NPR interview with him about the origins of his sound and his interest in protest. I will definitely be lookin to find out more about him and his music when I get home.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


I need to find some cheapish curtains for the French windows in my kitchen. Time for a trip to the fabric shops in Dalston for some batik, inspired by Kate's kitchen.

Kate burt

These are some of the designs that I like the look of online. I just need to find two big enough pieces with red, green and yellow and not much else in.




Sunday, 8 February 2015

Tom Dixon's designs for Sea Containers

I was lucky enough to take some clients to the new Sea Containers restaurant in the Mondrian hotel on Southbank before Christmas. The food was delicious but I was mainly there to get a look at the decor from Tom Dixon's Design Research Studio. You can see some stock photos below as I wasn't uncouth/brave enough to start snapping myself. The colours and the lighting and the humorous touches, like the Yellow Submarine, really made an impression.






Tom Dixon is a favourite designer of mine (as I have written before) because he is so inventive and down to earth. His lighting is still priced at levels that are within mortal reach and he is very up front and grateful about the fact that his famous copper disco ball lights paid for the growth of the rest of the company. I like a designer who can make their business pay and not just blaze into integrity-filled administration. I saved up for one of his lights last year and can't wait to get the electrician over to hang it.

I have Tom Dixon's 'Dixonary' book which is far more interesting than most designer-authored books. My favourite, quote, about TD's cast iron shoe doorstop, is:

"In the board game Cluedo, domestic objects become murder weapons. I like the idea of objects becoming figurative and not completely reflecting their functionality. Sometimes I get bored of being too serious. The idea of using a show as a doorstop seemed natural, becuase that is what you do with your foot. And you always need a non-specific heavy object at home - to attack a burglar, bang in a nail, crack a nut, or just keep a door open."


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Easter in Copenhagen

This is set of photos from a very happy Easter with family in Denmark about two years ago. It involved steak tartar, snaps, 'Bear-beer'and a look through my granddad's old sketchbooks. I found these photos again recently and it just reminded me how seriously my Danish family takes hosting. There always has to be a centrepiece, curly parsley garnishes on the plates and no one can eat without candles lit.

Easter in Copenhagen Easter in Copenhagen

Easter in Copenhagen

Easter in Copenhagen Easter in Copenhagen

Easter in Copenhagen Easter in Copenhagen
Easter in Copenhagen

Easter in Copenhagen

Monday, 2 February 2015

Persian rug alternatives

I am currently a bit obsessed with Persian rugs and getting one for my front room so that my feet won't freeze on the laminate floor any more. I think they are a great investment and look great with white walls and a few other colours, like here:

persian rugpersian2 persian3

More Persian rug porn can be found here.

I haven't found the right one yet, but in my internet travels, I've come across some interesting variations on Persian rugs.

First up, 'war rugs' where Afghan rug makers incorporate images of weapons and tanks into their traditional rugs - apparently this started as a way to increase their appeal to Soviet troops?! These take about a year to make and are works of art in their own right. It would be a bit of a dark thing to have in your home but they are apparently very sought after among American collectors (see an article about them in the Atlantic here)


Secondly, and lightening things up a bit, Hama bead rugs! Christina Puggard from Jutland in Denmark makes big tiled designs from kids favourites, Hama beads. Her 'giga-stor' (mega-big) versions make a real impact. Sadly, she seems to sell them locally and mainly by phone and email but you can see the photos on her Instagram account.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Beer bottle art - Mikeller brewery

Mikeller is a Copenhagen microbrewery that was set up by a home brew-loving Danish teacher and two of his pupils. You can drink beer from the age of 15 in Denmark so this isn't necesarily as legally problematic as it sounds. The beers Mikeller makes are tasty and forceful and their bars are fun and full of attractive people. But that isn't what this website is about.

What grabs my attention about Mikeller are their dry-humoured, 2D cartoon bottle labels, designed by a Philadelphian called Keith Shore. It's like a sarcastic Ancient Egyptian discovered neons and Microsoft Paint. They are a thing of beauty and, excellently, Mikeller sell t-shirts as well as beer.

Here are some favourites. They look good and they taste good.

Mikeller beer designs Copenhagen Mikeller beer designs Copenhagen Mikeller beer designs Copenhagen Mikeller beer designs Copenhagen Mikeller beer designs Copenhagen

Keith sells some prints of Mikeller posters and if I can work out how to get them shipped over to the UK I am most definitely going to get one. Or six.

Keith Shore designs for Mikeller Keith Shore designs for Mikeller Keith Shore designs for Mikeller
Keith Shore designs for Mikeller Keith Shore designs for Mikeller Keith Shore designs for Mikeller

Be sure to visit the Mikeller bars if you are in Copenhagen.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Decorating my office

Looking back on 2014 earlier this week, I had a real fuzzy feeling that my quality of life has improved in the past year. That's maybe not surprising given that I moved from a mouldy windowed one bedroom flat (albeit on beautiful Bermondsey Street) to a bonafide house. But it was more than that.

It was specifically the tiny, damp box-room that I claimed as my 'office'. After peeling off the original paint, spreading £80 of water resistant paint on the walls, having a carpet laid, ripping the carpet back up because the fitter had popped a nail through our central heating pipe, getting the plumbing fixed and relaying the carpet, it was all mine.

I bought a giant white desk and plugged in my Macbook. Then blue tacked magazine pages and articles all over the walls. Then piled my collection of 90s political biographies against the other walls. It was like being back in my teenage bedroom. Heaven! My sanctuary!

In between using the office to actually work, I have been fussing around with nick-hacks and nailing things to the walls. One corner is starting to look respectable and if not 'internet worthy' at least 'internet tolerable'. This is it. The rest is a tip.

My office

The Lost Highway poster used to be tacked up in my boyfriend's teenage bedroom. You can see the marks where the blue tack oil seeped through. Lovely! I think it originally came from Empire. If you have not seen this film, watch how good the credits are and asses whether you shouldn't run right out and rent it now.

My office My office

Ah. So many memories. This penguin is actually a piggybank modelled on a celebrity penguin that lived in Copenhagen Zoo in the 70s. The Scandinavian Kitchen blog has a good post on him here. Rather than wearing his traditional red scarf, my Pondus wears Krewe of Bacchus mardi gras beads. The wall is also festooned with bar mats from favoured holiday watering holes, the Mikeller bar in Copenhagen and Betty Ford's in Bercelona.

My office

More trinkets! On top of Wild at Heart, you can find a souvenir Eiffel Tour from a trip to Paris for the Pitchfork festival, where I got to visit David Lynch's club, Silencio. Also a tin shaped like a domino from a boot sale, a beer cap from a meal my Danish grandma made me (steak tartar, swoon) and a tiny pug my boyfriend got me to throw me off my game when I was pressuring him to let me get a pug a few years ago. (What was I thinking?)

This is currently the most presentable corner of my happy place (how many people can say that about their office) but if the rest is ever tidy I will upload that too.

How do you decorate to make yourself happy?

Sunday, 21 December 2014


It's nearly Christmas, which means it is safe to bring the tree inside the house. We have a tradition in my family that us kids travel home to decorate our tree, while the parents ply us with drink and Lucia buns for our trouble.

Scandinavian Christmas trees are a bit different to London ones; everything is red and gold, hearts are a legit Christmas motif and the most respectable trees are decorated with things handmade by the previous generations.

Here are a couple of shots of ours:


Scandinavian Christmas tree